Dear family members –

As I approach my first anniversary with Community Living British Columbia (CLBC), I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to family members. This has been an incredibly challenging year for all British Columbians as we have faced the first global pandemic in our lifetimes.

The pandemic, and all the challenges associated with our response, have meant that most of you have taken on additional responsibilities for the wellbeing of your family member.  You have done this as an expression of your love and your desire to keep your family member safe. We know that for most of you that has not been easy as CLBC funded supports were modified and, in many cases, reduced to keep people safe. This was also at a time when most community resources that your family member relied on have been closed.

Most of you have taken on additional responsibilities

While service providers across the province have done an amazing job in transforming the support they offer, we could not have gotten to this point without the support of families. When you took on more responsibility for your loved one, this helped agencies focus their support on those individuals and families that needed it most. Even under the enormous strain of the pandemic, individuals, families, and providers worked together to get us through.

I am greatly appreciative of what families have done. I also realize that it has left many of you tired. As providers are now moving into stage 2 and 3 it is our hope that you and your family member will be able to rely on more of the essential support you had before the pandemic.

Service providers are restoring services in Phase 2

In order to keep people safe, group services have not been able to operate the way they did before the pandemic. For the foreseeable future individuals will need to be supported one-on-one or in very small groups to reduce the risk of virus transmission. For some individuals that means they will be relying on less hours of support. Providers will be doing their best to make sure people get as much support as they can while operating in ways that keep individuals, families, and workers safe.

We don’t know what the fall will look like but CLBC and providers have been actively planning for a second wave. As hard as it would be, we might need to quickly return to the reduced levels of contact that helped us flatten the curve in the first wave. I share this with you not to worry you, but to help us all prepare ourselves for different possibilities.

Please stay connected to your agency or CLBC

I believe strongly in the resiliency of families. I also strongly believe that we need to do what we can to support families to remain connected over the next number of months. While there may be some stressful times ahead, we don’t want any family to feel isolated and alone. For those of you involved with an agency we know they will continue to be your primary contact. For those of you not connected to an agency we want you to feel comfortable reaching out to the CLBC team.

This fall we will be announcing on our website a series of webinars on topics that will be relevant to families to help you get through this time. We would also like to remind you about the support available through the Family Support Institute (FSI). FSI has demonstrated how valuable family-to-family support can be during very challenging times and continues to be a tremendous resource.

Please subscribe to our regular updates

In the meantime, we will continue to post information for families on our website here, and provide regular bulletin updates. To stay connected, we would encourage you to subscribe now to our news list. You can do so by visiting this page on our web site today.

In closing I would like to thank you for all you do and let you know we will work with our partners to ensure that your family member gets as much support as possible as we work together to get through this very challenging time.

Sincerely,

Ross Chilton
CEO, Community Living BC

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